Written by  :  Colin Rowsell (45)
Written on  :  May 20, 2002
Platform  :  DOS

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The largest, toughest, and most buoyant game of the trilogy

The Good

Where Zork 1 is a rambling collection of seventies mainframe puzzles, Zork 2 has focus and coherence. Navigating a beautifully described series of underground gardens, passages, and mazes, you are constantly annoyed by the Wizard himself while having your mind blended by the steroid-level Infocom problems. While being considerably harder than either of its partners in the trilogy, Zork 2 has the enjoyable quality of rewarding persistence: you are unlikely to be completely stuck for very long. And there's always that Frobozz guy to liven things up...

The Bad

If anything, the initial stages of the game are too wide open. You are very quickly presented with about ten different puzzles, and while the way through is to concentrate on them individually, the temptation to flit around without getting anywhere is strong. One puzzle in particular (you'll know it) really is too hard, even by Infocom standards. Finally, the ending isn't quite as good as that of Zork 1 and 3, though still extremely satisfying.

The Bottom Line

Zork 2 is a very worthy challenge for anyone who has cut their teeth on a few text adventures. It's most attractive quality is perhaps the Wizard himself - his random appearances make the game less static than other Infocom titles, and contribute to the uniquely sculpted atmosphere that the game presents. A large, tough, excellent sequel.